Shari Duncan

Tag: Fiber

Southwest Beef & Black Bean Burger; A Happy Compromise

by on Feb.21, 2011, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, High Protein dishes, Recipes

The “not quite” veggie burger that cooks up big, fat and flavorful.

Mixing in a can of black beans to traditional hamburgers will help to cut fat and increase fiber.  AND… Not only are you making a very hearty AND heart-healthier burger… but the addition of beans helps your beef dollars go farther.                   (1 lb of ground beef or turkey yields 6 burgers!)

The beans make these burgers a little more delicate than a conventional burger, so be sure to handle with care.  Placing the patties in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before cooking will help them to hold their shape.


  • 1 lbs lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 can black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed

    Make a better burger by adding beans!

  • ~1/3 c oats
  • 2-3 TBSP chopped onion
  • 2TBSP Salsa
  • 2-3 TBSP Chopped green chilies (or 1TBSP Jalapenos)
  • 1 TPBS Cumin
  • 2 TBSP Cilantro
  • Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, and Season Salt, to taste.
  • – – – – – – –
  • Sliced Avocado, tomato slices, additional salsa (for topping)

Combine black beans, onion, spices and oats in a large bowl until well mixed and black beans are mashed.  Mix in ground beef (turkey), salsa, and chilies.

Shape into 6 patties.  Burgers can be grilled, broiled, or pan-fried.

Serve on whole wheat sandwich thins (if not on carb restricted diet) and top with sliced avocado and tomato, and salsa.

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Turn an Ordinary, Innocent Potato into an Extraordinary Healthy Meal.

by on Jan.22, 2011, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Eat the skin…. And choose your toppings wisely.

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap because they are high in starchy carbohydrates and low in protein. But this doesn’t mean they are bad for you. It is how they are prepared that matters…and what you top them with.  Boiled and baked potatoes are healthy; French fries and potato chips….not so much.  Potatoes served with high-calorie and high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream or gravy are the culprits that pack on the calories and unhealthy fats.

Start with a small to medium size potato – no larger than the size of your fist, or a tennis ball. (Red or gold potato is preferable to white). Potatoes “of color” provide carotenoids (and some also provide flavonoids) that white potatoes do not. Carotenoids and flavonoids are pigments, and according to nutritional research, they provide us with many health benefits, including cancer protection. Technically, you’ll get more fiber and minerals per bite from smaller potatoes of any kind, since they have more surface area (skin) per amount of starchy inside (total volume). The three to seven grams of fiber contained in a medium-sized potato are mostly in the skin…so enjoy the skin along with the insides! (be certain to scrub them thoroughly before baking).

choose potatoes "of color" for added nutrients

Here are some simple suggestions that transform an ordinary potato into an easy, satisfying AND nutritious meal.

Most of these ideas incorporate some form of protein to keep the meal balanced. You will notice I suggest Greek yogurt as a topping. Greek yogurt is an excellent replacement for sour cream. It mimics the flavor and richness while adding a significant source of protein and without adding the saturated fat of sour cream. Guilt free AND super healthy… give it a try!

  1. Potato with steamed broccoli and low-fat cheddar cheese.  (or broccoli with greek yogurt)
  2. Potato topped with salsa, black beans, and avocado. (or Salsa and greek yogurt)
  3. Potato topped with left over chili or stewed beef.
  4. Potato with shredded roasted chicken and “spiked” yogurt.  (Try garlic salt/powder, paprika, chili powder) and top with parsley.
  5. Scrambled egg whites and turkey or Canadian bacon. (think of your potato as your hash browns)
  6. Potato with a good mix of peppers, onions, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, or root vegetables would be great. Top it with some yogurt mixed with cumin or curry or some fat free Italian dressing.
  7. Potato with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese works well on top of the potato because it adds not only the creamy, cheesy flavor and is a great source of protein that is low in fat and added carbohydrates.

NUTRITION DATA:   one medium potato, (2 ¼ – 3 1/4” dia.)  Baked, flesh & skin contains:

approximately 161 calories; 4.3 grams of protein, 37 carbohydrate grams, (~4 grams of dietary fiber) and nearly no fat.

Potatoes also contain no cholesterol, are very low in sodium and rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa… FRESH!

by on Jan.08, 2011, under Fruits and Veggies, Healthy Snacks, Recipes

What’s so great about this salsa?.. It is fool proof… Use more or less of any ingredient to suit your taste!

It has a ton of flavor and is a great accompaniment to many dishes. … and it keeps well in the refrigerator.

Here is a very healthy and fresh salsa that can be served as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a very flavorful topping for grilled chicken or fish,  tacos, burritos,  or as a dressing alternative to southwestern salads.

When possible, I prefer to use fresh tomatoes or corn for frozen or canned.


  • 1 can, 14 ounces, black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup frozen corn kernels (or 1 can, drained)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

    Top Grilled Fish or Chicken or Southwest Salads with this flavorful Salsa

  • ¼ -½ small red onion chopped
  • 3-4 chopped Roma Tomatoes (or 1 can Italian diced tomatoes)
  • ground cumin to taste
  • Minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons hot Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • 1 lime, juiced (or 1/4c lime juice)
  • Fresh Cilantro (1/4 cup)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil,  to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 1 Avocado, peeled, pitted and diced


  1. Stir the corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, bell pepper, cumin, garlic and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Gently mix in the lime juice, Tabasco and avocado (if using).
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Let sit at least 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to meld or refrigerate overnight
  5. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

    Black Eye Peas Salsa ? ... Sure!

  • Fresh, diced jalapeno peppers may be substituted for Tabasco if you want it spicy.

NEW YEARS VARIATION: Black-eye Peas in place of Black Beans! ( I also add a little Red Wine Vinegar to this one)

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving   (approximate) Calories: 19 | Total Fat: 0.9g | Cholesterol: 0mg

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Do you Rutabaga?

by on Dec.25, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Probably the most underutilized vegetable in America, the rutabaga can be cooked any way you’d treat other roots; including roasting, baking, mashing, boiling, stir-frying.

The rutabaga may be one of the least known, and under-appreciated vegetables around, but in my opinion definitely one of the tastiest.  But don’t confuse them for turnips…They have a distinct, sweet taste that is earthy and AWESOME!  Because many people don’t know what they are, or what to do with them they get overlooked and underused.  They are inexpensive and abundant year round in the grocery. The versatile rutabaga can be eaten raw or cooked and are excellent in stews and soups. They can be roasted, baked, made into fries, are delicious in a low country boil or… the favorite in our home – boiled and mashed.  Our holiday meals are not complete without a big steaming bowl of mashed Rutabagas!

Mashed Rutabaga’s with Ham

3-4  rutabagas will yield enough  for a dozen people to enjoy – The flavor is earthy and sweet and the color is a golden amber.

  • 3-4 medium rutabagas
  • Ham scraps (or smoked turkey)
  • Salt, to taste
  • (Optional: 1-2 tsp sugar)

    Sweet, Earthy and AWESOME!

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add country ham scraps, or smoked turkey parts. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.2. Using a sharp knife, peel and cube the rutabagas.3. Carefully place the rutabagas in the boiling water, adding salt – be careful, as the rutabagas will cook down and the rutabagas will pick up the flavor from the ham and you may regret excessive salting! Let the vegetables come to a boil, cover and simmer for at least an hour. The whitish raw rutabaga turns yellow-orange as it cooks. The rutabagas are done when they are soft, very much like a non-starchy boiled potato.

    4.  Drain excess water (reserve), mash and season with a bit of pepper, pepper vinegar or hot sauce, if you like added heat, or a bit of sugar for added sweet – adding back reserve “pot liquor” if desired or needed.

In the early part of the 17th century, Swiss botanist Casper Bauhin crossed a cabbage with a turnip and got a RUTABAGA. It first became very popular in northern Europe. It was also very popular with ancient Greeks and Romans.  Their popularity spread to the rest of Europe and it remained a mainstay of the European table until the potato displaced it in the 18th century. Parsnips came to America with English colonials but never reached the kind of widespread appeal it once achieved in Europe.

Mature rutabaga roots should be four to six inches in diameter and free of bruises and blemishes.

The rutabaga is a member of the Cruciferae family  Cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and turnips, contain phytonutrients that have been shown to help the liver remove carcinogens, as well as other toxic chemicals. Including several servings of these vegetables in your weekly diet may help reduce your risk of cancer. Nutritionally, rutabagas contain significant amounts of vitamin C and E which are powerful antioxidants. They are also fiber rich and high in potassium.


Calories: One cup of cooked rutabaga has 66.3 calories, 3 percent of the daily value (DV). Roughly 57 calories are from carbohydrates, 6.1 from protein and 3.1 from fat.

Carbohydrates: There are 14.9 grams of carbohydrates in a one cup serving – 10.2 grams are sugars and 3.1 grams (12 percent DV) are fiber. Fiber has many health benefits, including maintaining regular bowels, regulating blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss.

Protein: A one-cup serving has 2.2 grams of protein, 4 percent DV, and contains every essential amino acid.

Fat: Rutabagas have very little fat, only 0.4 grams (1 percent DV). Most is polyunsaturated fat, the healthy fat.

Rutabagas are cholesterol free

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Quinoa (Keen-wa) The Healthy Grain with the Funny Name

by on Dec.05, 2010, under General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

There aren’t many foods that have such high nutrition that they fall into the complete or nearly complete food categories. However, Quinoa is pretty darn close!

Although not a staple in most kitchens today – those who have discovered quinoa know how delicious it is and how good it is for them.   Quinoa is a nutrient dense,  amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.

I finally decided to give into my curiosity and bought a box of quinoa… and am quickly discovering how really simple, delicious and versatile is.  ..

If you do not know what is so special about quinoa here are six secrets.

Easy to prepare, tasty and versatile. Quinoa is a COMPLETE FOOD!

Quinoa with Black Beans. Easy to prepare, tasty and versatile. Quinoa is a COMPLETE FOOD!

Secret 1 – Quinoa is gluten free

Quinoa is a good source of many vitamins and nutrients. Although technically a seed, quinoa ) is commonly referred to and used most often as a grain
because it is also gluten free and very non allergenic, people with restricted diets can usually eat it wit out any problems.

Secret 2 – It is a complete protein

One cup (cooked) quinoa contains eight grams of protein, nearly twice the amount found in other grains. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it provides the body all nine essential amino acids. For
vegans and vegetarians looking for alternative to tofu and soya it is ideal. It is also far more versatile in the kitchen then other vegan sources of protein.

Secret 3 – Quinoa is REALLY good for your health

It is a vegetable protein which is easy to digest. It also is a complex carbohydrate that slowly releases its goodness into the body. You do not get a rush of carbs followed by a lull. This is great for diabetics and people with kidney problems

Secret 4 – It is available in different types, colors and forms.

The most common is white quinoa. (Also, black quinoa and red quinoa). The different varieties also have different levels of oils in them making some crunchier than others. Quinoa is available in seed (grain form), flour, and flakes. It’s texture is what many love most about this grain (seed).

Secret 5 – Quinoa Can Help You Lose Weight.

Quinoa offers a lot to anyone looking to get healthy. However there are a number of great benefits for those looking to lose weight as well.

  • Because of its protein content and complex carbohydrates quinoa will have you feeling full longer and will also help prevent cravings. You do not need to eat very much to feel satisfied.
  • The amino acids and high quality protein will help you build more muscles. This in turn will have you burning more calories and it will prevent you from losing muscle tone as you lose weight

Secret 6 – It Is Very Easy To Cook

If you can boil pasta or rice then you can cook quinoa. Bring one part quinoa and two parts liquid to boil. Simmer as you would rice for about fifteen minutes or until the grains are translucent.  It has a nutty flavor that complements many other ingredients and adds wonderful texture to soups, stews, stir fry’s and salads

Quinoa is very rich in magnesium,a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers.  Low dietary levels of magnesium are also associated with increased rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease and heart arrhythmias, and since magnesium helps to relax blood vessels, adding Quinoa to your diet offers your body protection and can improve your cardiovascular health.


Quinoa and Black Beans (adapted from


1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen corn kernels

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed

and drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro

Servings Per Recipe: 10

Calories: 142

Amount Per Serving

  • Total Fat: 1.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 467mg
Amount Per Serving

  • Total Carbs: 25.6g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.9g
  • Protein: 6.9g

*My customized version:

I substituted olive oil instead of vegetable oil, low sodium chicken for the vegetable broth, used 1 can black beans (instead of 2) and mixed in about ½-3/4  cup of black bean salsa in at the end.

This is satisfying enough as a meal or as a hearty side dish.  I served with Chili and Lime grilled chicken breasts.

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Wholesome Pumpkin Spice Bread

by on Oct.09, 2010, under Healthy Snacks, Recipes, Whey Protein Recipes

This bread is packed with many health boosting, anti-aging and disease fighting nutrients.

This hearty bread makes for a healthy and satisfying breakfast or mid day snack that is high in protein and complex carbohydrates. The flax and walnuts provide heart healthy fats. The pumpkin and oats both contribute to making this bread both high in fiber but low in sugar.  Pumpkin also contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals making it one of the most nutrient rich foods available…so much so that pumpkin is considered by many nutritionists as one of the top “SUPERFOODS”.

Dry Ingredients:

Wholesome ingredients... make this one very healthy bread

Wholesome ingredients... make this one very healthy bread

  • 1 ½ c Low carb baking flour
  • 1 c. oats
  • 4 scoops ViSalus Vi-Shape Nutrition Mix (or 2 scoops Vanilla protein)
  • 2 TBSP Flax Seed
  • 1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Baking soda/ ½ tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (or more)
  • 1 whole, 2 egg whites, beaten
  • ~½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp Flax oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend (more or less to taste)pumpkin bread
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Optional:  1/2c walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray one regular size (or 4 mini) loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.  Gradually add wet ingredients to dry and stir well.  Stir in walnut pieces.  Pour batter into pan and place on center rack in oven. Bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Spread sliced bread with apple or pumpkin butter if desired!

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Pan Sautéed Cabbage with Onions

by on Oct.03, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Loss

Traditional methods of steaming or boiling make cabbage watery. To retain the maximum number of nutrients and more robust flavor, saute cabbage.

A healthy Sauté method, is very similar to steaming and enhances the flavor the of cabbage Slice cabbage into 1/4 -inch slices and let sit for 5 minutes to boost its health-promoting benefits before cooking.

  • 1 medium head of green cabbage
    Simple Ingredients.. Sauteed Cabbage compliments any meal.

    Choose Cabbage Heads with compact leaves that are heavy for their size.

    3/4 of one medium yellow onion, finely chopped (or one smaller onion)
    1 large clove of garlic, minced
    2 Tbs. olive oil
    coarse sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1 ½ Tbs. balsamic vinegar (or apple cider, or pepper vinegar)

Cut the head of cabbage in half, and then slice the cabbage into strips about 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide. Finely chop onion and mince garlic.

Heat a wide-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high to high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until they just begin to soften and become translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.

Add the first third of the cabbage to the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the cabbage cook– without stirring– until the bottom is browned and slightly crispy without being burned. –  This is no small task to keep the heat high enough to brown the bottom but not so high as to burn it.

When the first layer is browned on the bottom, use a wide spatula to flip it, making sure to scrape up all the bits of browned, crispy goodness on the bottom of the pan. After flipping it, add the next layer of cabbage, and repeat the process.*

When all of the cabbage has been cooked through and browned well, drizzle about 1 ½ to 2 Tbs. balsamic  (or other) vinegar over the top and stir well for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and serve immediately or cover and store in a slightly warmed   oven. This can also be made ahead and reheated.

Balsamic vinegar lends a rich caramel color and a slightly tangy, lively flavor .

Sauté in olive oil as a much healthier and flavorful alternative to butter or margarine.

Simple Ingredients that provide Cancer fighting protection.
Simple Ingredients that provide Cancer fighting protection.

* After adding the second layer, it becomes too difficult to “flip” the whole thing, so simply stir it with the spatula, turning portions as they brown.

Cabbage Health Benefits

The nutritional value and health benefits of cabbage make it ideal for:

  • Maintaining optimum health
  • Weight loss

Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. More than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates.

  • In one recent study, short-cooked and raw cabbage were the only types of cabbage to show cancer-preventive benefits-long-cooked cabbage failed to demonstrate measurable benefits.
  • New research shows that steaming/sautéing is a better cooking method than microwaving if you want to maximize the health benefits of glucosinolates found in cabbage

Cabbage is:

  • Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Very Low Sodium,
  • High in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium

How to Select

Choose green cabbage heads with compact leaves that are heavy for their size.

How to Store

Refrigerate green cabbage for up to 7 days.

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Discovering New Flavors: The Mamey

by on Sep.25, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Recipes

Wandering through the local farmer’s market, my husband and I sampled some Mamey for the first time.  With a surprising sweet, “meaty” flavor and texture, we took one home, anxious to try it in our daily protein smoothie! —  so glad we did.  One try and we are hooked!

What is mamey?

Also known as Mamey Sapote (or Sapote),   this tropical berry fruit is native to Southern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Southern Florida. The brown skin has a texture somewhere between sandpaper and the fuzz on a peach. The fruit’s flavor is uniquely creamy and sweet.

To tell when a mamey sapote is ripe, peel off a fleck of the skin to see if it is pink underneath. The flesh should appear salmon colored and give slightly, as with a ripe kiwi fruit.  The fruit is eaten raw out of hand or made into milkshakes or smoothies, or added to fruit salads. The fruit’s flavor is described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato and maraschino cherries with the texture of an avocado.  Markets often sell them while they’re still hard and underripe, so you need to set them on the counter for a few days until they yield when gently squeezed.  Peel them and remove the seeds before serving.

Health info: Mamey is believed to be an antiseptic, and is also eaten to help calm an upset stomach and treat headaches.  Some consider the fruit to be an aphrodisiac.   It is also high in vitamins A & C, potassium and dietary fiber.

NUTRITION FACTS: Per 1 cup of raw mamey:

Mamey- A tropical berry fruit.  A must try in your next power smoothie

Mamey- A tropical berry fruit. A must try in your next power smoothie

Calories 101

Total Fat  1g

Sat Fat 0.3 g

Cholesterol  0 g

Sodium  30 g

Total Carbs 24.9 g

Dietary Fiber 6 g

Protein 1 g

Calcium 21.9m g

Potassium 93.5 mg



Slice one mamey in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Add to blender, along with 2 scoops (Vi-shape or other protein), ½ cup almond milk (or milk of choice), ½ cup of orange juice, 4 ice cubes.

Cinnamon, Nutmeg.

Mix well until shake is uniform and soft.  Yield: one power packed smoothie.

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The Vegetable with Super Food Powers…

by on Sep.05, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, MISC.

The sweet potato is the champion of all veggies when it comes to nutrition.

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of copper, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!

Did you know that…

  • One cup of cooked sweet potatoes provides 1,922 mcg_RAE of beta carotene (Vitamin A).
    It would take 16 cups of broccoli to provide the same amount.
  • Sweet potatoes have four times the US Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for beta-carotene when eaten with the skin on.
  • Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin E, and they are virtually fat-free, which makes them a real Vitamin E standout. Most Vitamin E rich foods, such as vegetable oils, nuts and avocados, contain a hefty dose of fat.
  • Just two thirds of a cup of sweet potatoes provides 100% of the USRDA for Vitamin E, without the unwanted fat.
  • Sweet potatoes provide many other essential nutrients including Vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber which helps to promote a healthy digestive tract. Sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal.
  • Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate which means they digest more slowly than white potatoes and therefore will not cause your blood sugar to spike.
  • Sweet potatoes are virtually fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. One cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potatoes has 180 calories.

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts (for one medium size sweet potato)

Calories 130    
Fat 0.39 g
Protein 2.15 g
Net Carbs 31.56 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Calcium 28.6 mg
Sodium 16.9 mg
Potassium 265.2 mg
Folate 18.2 mcg
Vitamin C 29.51 mg
Vitamin A 26081.9 IU
Source: US Department of Agriculture

Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating. That’s because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer. It’s time to move sweet potatoes to the “good” carb list.

Sliced and seasoned ... a crispier alternative to traditional baked potatoes.

Sliced and seasoned ... a crispier alternative to traditional baked potatoes.

Oven fried sweet potatoes offer a nice change from traditional baked potatoes.

( by baking, they have ALOT less fat than fried potatoes…. but still all the flavor)

Wash and scrub 2-3 sweet potatoes or yams.  Slice in ¼- ½ inch rounds.  In medium bowl mix 1 ½  Tbsp olive oil, salt, butter buds and  generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Toss in sweet potatoes to coat with seasonings and oil.

Arrange in single layer on baking sheet.

Bake in 450 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, turning once during cooking.  Top with additional cinnamon, if desired.

  • For spicy potato rounds, substitute, cumin,chili powder, and garlic salt for the cinnamon and butter buds.
  • Cut lengthwise into 1/3 inch strips for potato “fries”.
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Prebiotics and Probiotics : How Important are they to your Health?

by on May.30, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

Though not the same, prebiotics and probiotics complement one another and work together to improve overall health and wellness.

Improve your digestive health by ensuring a healthy colon.  Two buzz words in regards to digestive health are Prebiotics and Probiotics.  Prebiotics and Probiotics are bacteria that reside in your intestinal tract.  Both are essential to a healthy immune system and an important factor to overall good health.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and other microbial organisms that naturally live in the digestive tract. Your body is home to trillions of these “friendly” beneficial microorganisms. Natural probiotic foods and quality probiotics supplements contain millions of good friendly bacteria that help make you healthier.

The “good” bacteria in your intestines manage 4 main jobs for you:

YOGURT: An excellent Probiotic food source

YOGURT: An excellent Probiotic food source

  • They help to digest your food,
  • Fight off disease-causing bacteria,
  • Make nutrients available for you to use,
  • And keep bowels moving at the perfect pace

These “friendly” bacteria contribute to better digestion and help protect you from “unfriendly” harmful bacteria that cause illness.

Many factors can disrupt your body’s natural probiotic balance, including:

  • Taking antibiotics,
  • A diet of processed, low fiber foods. Not getting enough fiber.
  • Ingesting environmental toxins,
  • Stress
  • And eating a diet high in refined bad carbohydrates.

When lifestyle or dietary factors reduce the beneficial bacteria in your body, harmful bacteria and yeast can flourish, greatly increasing the risk of diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections and many other health problems.

Some good food sources of probiotics are yogurt, cottage cheese,fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut, pickles,), sourdough bread and miso.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates available in thousands of different plant foods. Prebiotics do not get metabolized in the stomach or absorbed in the GI tract. Most importantly, prebiotics encourage the growth and increased activity of “good” bacteria within the intestines; thus, enhancing the effects of probiotics. Prebiotics nourish and strengthen probiotics. They should be consumed prior to or with probiotics.

The two most common prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin. The richest food source is bananas. Other prebiotic sources are:

Bananas & other fruits, veggies and garlic. All great Prebiotic food sources

Bananas & other fruits, veggies and garlic. All great Prebiotic food sources

  • Fruit
  • Garlic,
  • Barley,
  • Artichokes,
  • Soybeans,
  • Wheat and Sprouted Wheat
  • Onions and leeks.
  • Asparagus

Eating a combination of prebiotic and probiotic foods is important to keep beneficial bacteria thriving. When you eat prebiotic foods, you nourish the good bacteria in your body. By eating probiotic foods, you replace friendly bacteria that have been lost.

Here are a few of ideas to incorporate both prebiotics and probiotics into your diet:

  1. Add banana or berries (prebiotics) to unsweetened yogurt or kefir (probiotics) for breakfast or as a snack.
  2. Add prebiotic vegetables such as spinach and tomatoes to your salads. Make a yogurt based dressing to include those probiotics too.
  3. Feed the good bacteria in your gut by eating more asparagus or spinach. Sautée with garlic for a double dose of prebiotics

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